Belgian dentists fight tooth and nail for preventive care in times of Covid-19

Dentists in Wallonia have reported 15 to 20% fewer patients compared to previous years. At the origin of the drop in attendance: the fear of the coronavirus pushing people to 'confine' their dental care.

To face this decrease, the Liège based organisation, Association pour la Pratique de l'Art Dentaire – APAD (Association for the Practice of Dental Art), has decided to launch the "Faites confiance à votre dentiste" (Trust your dentist) campaign, aiming to reassure patients about the health and safety measures taken.

Photo: APAD poster campaign 2021 © APAD 'Trust your dentist' 'we do not bite'

Daphné Dujardin, head of APAD, commented:

"We see that 15 to 20% of patients desert their consultations with the dentist […] For fear of the coronavirus, of being infected or of bringing the virus home, they postpone their care, which is damaging."

The situation is causing logistical difficulties in dental offices with more and more cancellations, sometimes voiced a day before or on the same day as the appointment.

The most worrisome consequence directly concerns patients, who tend to neglect preventive care.

Liège dentist Michaël Cesa comfirms the latter point:

"These last 5 or 6 months, the pandemic has put a brake on prevention care […] As a result, we now come to provide emergency care that we were no longer used to seeing in our practices."

The place where the dentist operates is obviously the subject of particular attention in terms of sanitary hygiene. This is not new, but other protocols have come to strengthen patient safety. The rules of social distancing apply in the waiting room, fully furnished with dispensers of hydroalcoholic gel.

The poster campaign "Trust your dentist" launched Tuesday by the APAD also aims to reassure the population in this often anxiety-provoking climate.

Recently, the Institut national d'assurance maladie invalidité - INAMI (National Institute for Disease and Disability Insurance) has also taken measures to encourage visits to the dentist. The deadline for the annual mandatory visit to a dental professional has been extended by one year (until the end of December 2021). The only condition is that you have visited your dentist in 2019.

Read the original version of this article in French at RTC Liège's website.

RTC Liège is one of the twelve public broadcasters catering to the French speaking community in Belgium. The channel's basic mission is to provide information, entertainment, cultural development and continuing education for the populations concerned by encouraging community participation across Province de Liège.

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